Lauren Bridges

Selfie of a teenage girl with her dark-blond hair in braids; she has fair skin, blue eyes, and braces on her teeth. She is smiling, and wearing a gray Minnie Mouse shirt.Name: Lauren Bridges.
Died: February 26, 2022.
Age at death: 20.
Cause of death: Suicide/Systemic Failure (Suicide after long-term inadequate treatment).
Location: Manchester, England, UK.

Details:
Lauren was a brilliant student who wanted to be either a doctor or a pediatric nurse. Her mother remembers her as loving and gentle.

When Lauren was eight, her younger brother Alfie died of mitochondrial disease, and Lauren’s grief triggered OCD and anxiety about protecting her family. She would perform rituals to calm her anxiety about her family coming to harm.

By fourteen years old, Lauren knew she was mentally ill, and asked for help. She was hospitalized voluntarily. But the unit had no therapy, and no treatment plan. Her autism was misdiagnosed as a personality disorder until she was 17 years old.

Over the next several years, Lauren was an inpatient in six different facilities, and none offered adequate treatment. She had little or no therapy and few activities. She was locked away from daylight and exercise. Sometimes, she was put into seclusion without even a bed–just a ground sheet to sleep on.

Lauren died from suicide while hospitalized.

Lauren’s mother, who fought to try to get Lauren the care she needed when she was alive, is now collecting signatures on a petition to keep autistic children from being detained in hospitals far away from home and away from their parents, to prevent autism from being misdiagnosed as a personality disorder, to establish suicide-prevention measures, and to provide therapy and activities for all inpatients in mental wards and psychiatric hospitals.

References:
‘My autistic daughter died after eight months locked up in psychiatric unit’
Young autistic girl dies in inpatient unit
Help for Lauren – Transforming care for autistic children under the Mental Health Act
Justice for Lauren – Autism & mental health – STOP FAILING OUR MOST VULNERABLE #lollyslaw

Edward Ware

Photo of a young man with dark skin and black hair; one of his eyes is turned outward. He is wearing a white T-shirt, and smiling for the camera.Name: Edward Ware.
Died: December 14, 2021.
Age at death: 36.
Cause of death: Restraint-related.
Location: Miami, Florida, USA.

Details:
Edward lived in a group home. While he was on the phone with his father, he said he wanted to leave. Staff restrained him, suffocating him, as Edward tried to apologize. Edward died in the hospital the next day.

The group home staff were charged with manslaughter.

References:
6 to Know: Textbook Operation by Police Lands Suspects in Jail Without Chase
Father of Man Killed at North Miami Group Home Speaks Out About Disturbing Video
Disturbing video shows moments before patient was killed at health facility

Josh Hancey

Hancey, JoshName: Josh Hancey.
Died: July 21, 2021.
Age at death: 12.
Cause of death: Negligence (Left in hot car; hyperthermia).
Location: American Fork, Utah, USA.

Details:
Josh’s family was unable to care for him, so he lived with a proctor family who had been trained in the needs of autistic children. He was enrolled in a day program that had the responsibility to transport him safely to and from the program.

Josh had left the facility and gotten lost on two occasions on the 11th and 20th of July. On the 21st, staff left him in the van in the hot parking lot for two hours, where he died of heat stroke.

References:
Day before boy’s death in hot car, staff at center told to be ‘alert’ for his safety
Developments in hot car death: Boy had autism, state investigating, center on notice
Autistic Boy Wandered From Care Facility a Day Before He Died in Hot Car: Officials
What’s next in the American Fork hot car death investigation of an 11-year-old?
Boy who died in a hot car was allowed to ‘wander off’ from care facility days before
State takes immediate action to limit license of program where Utah boy died in hot car
Family of the boy who died in hot car is devastated

Ryan Kowal

Photo of a fair-skinned, blond young man with brown eyes, outdoors; his brow is furrowed and mouth half-open in a puzzled expression.Name: Ryan Kowal.
Died: January 23, 2021.
Age at death: 21.
Cause of death: Negligence (Choked while unsupervised).
Location: Bakersfield, California, USA.

Details:
Ryan lived in a supported living facility. He had a tendency to put things into his mouth, so he had to be fed a soft diet and watched carefully to prevent him from choking.

Ryan died because he was left alone with some crackers by his caregivers, and crammed them into his mouth and choked. Staff knew the risk; seven months before, Ryan had nearly choked during a similar incident.

References:
Family files suit after death of autistic man in Bakersfield care facility
Parents hope lawsuit helps spark change after son’s choking death at local care center
Wrongful death lawsuit filed in autistic man’s choking death

Ajin

Name: Ajin, son of Jishoy and Nitya.
Died: January 25, 2020.
Age at death: 6.
Cause of death: Unknown suspicious death (Found bleeding and unconscious after fight).
Location: Vellimadukunnu, Kozhikode, Kerala, India.

Details:
Ajin and his mother, whose husband had left her, stayed with his grandparents. When his mother came down with depression and had to be hospitalized, Ajin was left in a care home, a six-year-old boy housed with 13-14-year-olds. One morning Ajin was found bleeding, unconscious, and dying. One of the staff at the care home said that the boys had been fighting. The cause of Ajin’s death is unknown; whether from abuse by staff, assault by other residents, or simple negligence, his death was most likely preventable.

References:
6-year-old’s death in Kerala govt home exposes apathy and grave security lapses
Death of child with autism at Kerala group home raises safety concerns
6-yr-old autistic boy found dead in Govt owned Children’s home in Kozhikode